ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants

The ERC Starting Grants aim at supporting exceptional established researcher leaders of any nationality. Eligibility criteria is scientific excellence.

Applicants must have their PhD diploma for more than 2 and less than 7 years. The Researchers have to show independent thinking and have a recent research track-record and profile which identifies them as young leaders in their respective field(s) of research.

The proposed project shall excel regarding ambition, scientific targets, creativity and originality. Evaluators will measure the researcher’s scientific excellence considering publications, patents, presentations at international conferences, expeditions, (inter-)national awards, etc.

A public or private research institution (Host Institution) located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries employs the researcher (Principal Investigator) for the time of the project. The grant is paid out to this Host Institution explicitly requiring it to provide an adequate research environment for the PI, to administer the budget and enable independent research. The PI is required to dedicate 50% of his working to the project over the period of the grant.

Starting Grants will be up to € 1.5 million for a period of 5 years (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 0.5 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for Principal Investigators moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country or the purchase of major equipment. The Starting Grant covers up to 100% of direct research cost – plus an extra 20% of direct cost as overhead.

The call is designed bottom-up, i.e. open for any field of science. Only eligibility criteria is scientific excellence.

Calls are published on a yearly basis. The single part proposal is to be filed electronically and requires a previous registration on the European Commission’s Participant’s Portal.

The proposal consists out of three parts (available online): Form A covering administrative Data, Form B1 (Presentation of the researcher’s excellence & project summary) and Form B2 (detailed description of the project).

The proposals are evaluated in a 2-stage peer-review procedure. 25 Scientific Panels elected by the ERC evaluate form B1.

Applicants who were successful in the first step are invited to an interview in Brussels to present their project and answer the Panel’s questions.

EU GrantsAccess offers a wide range of services for ERC applicants and grantees with ETH Zürich or University Zurich as Host Institution.